When I saw the topic of this Sunday’s Post, I wondered if I should go out and find someone working; however, I remembered I had shot quite a few images of people at work during my stay in China last summer.
I find it interesting that I still have not gotten comfortable taking similar pictures here in my own city and country. I guess there’s something about being a tourist that gives me (in my mind) license to shoot just about anything.
And now, I’m off to the gym before returning to my work, prepping my lessons for the week. I hope you all have a satisfying and productive work week.
Laoshan Moutain near Qingdau: The aroma of her food was enticing, but I passed on it. Now I wish I’d indulged.
Beijing: I think he has a difficult job.
Beijing: This soldier stands guard at the Forbidden City. He looks so young and alone.
Beijing: He makes beautiful china in the Hutong area; unfortunately, I could not afford any of the beautiful pieces.
Beijing: She cooked my delicious meal when I dined in a private residence in the Hutong area.
Qingdau: She was working so hard to sell her ears of corn.
Beijing: My tour guide through the Forbidden City…I’d been in the country only two days and was still afraid that I’d get lost, but he made sure that I was safe. His English is nearly flawless and his talks were informative and interesting.
Beijing: Olympic village, just outside of the Bird’s Nest, on his way to another job.
Feicheng: Diane, one of the participants in my workshop, teaching her students as they prepare for their English exams.
Feicheng: I understand that this is a nightly event in the city where I worked. I walked around the city only twice in the 4 weeks I worked there; I spent my evenings in the hotel, usually preparing the next day’s lesson. This summer, I vow to experience more of the local life.
Shanghai: I bought some of his bread and was surprised that it tasted salty, and not sweet like the Indian Fry Bread that is sold in Arizona.
It’s raining, a wonderful and rare event here in Phoenix, and the sky is gray, reflecting my mood. It’s been a difficult work week. There are two weeks left of school; we are in the midst of testing (my content area requires a minimum of five days of testing), and my freshmen are not responding well — lots of misbehavior which is wearing me down.
I need to grade papers this evening, but before I do, I must get into a more positive frame of mind. I always feel better after playing with images and blogging. I like the mood of these shots of water in the golden afternoon sunlight….kind of soft, mellow, and peaceful, soothing my troubled spirit.
What a delightful day! It actually began last night when I babysat my granddaughter (continuing into this morning). You know, babysit is not exactly what I do. In fact, it’s closer to “hanging out with Elle.” I am her playmate. “GRAMMA!” she squeals, calling me to play when I leave the room or attempt to do anything that is not directly related to the game of the moment. Of course, I don’t mind at all. When she snuggles up next to me on the couch, there is nothing better. Elle and me TOGETHER!
After hanging out with Elle, I went to the park to take some pictures. Within a few minutes, I happened upon this man and asked if I could take his picture. He gruffly answered that he was doing yoga so I started to move on after sneaking this first shot.
Then I decided that annoying him might just be worth it, especially if my annoyance came with a little cash. I think he told me he’s “Lizard Man.” Look closely at his costume made of pull tabs (and more). I asked if he made it himself and he proudly answered that yes he did. He also informed me that if I really wanted to take some pictures of him I could do so at the Starbuck’s on Mill Avenue every afternoon.
When I asked again if I could take his picture, he insisted that anyone who takes his picture must be in it also. I wondered if his young female companion might just walk off with my Nikon, but I thought I could possibly chase her down. (As you can see, I didn’t need to.) He also insisted that I give the peace sign. I was only too happy to oblige. So, in a way, I took a picture TOGETHER with Lizard Man in the park today.
After I gave him a few dollars he thanked me and then reminded me that he needed to finish his yoga, soaking up the sun like a lizard.
After my moments TOGETHER with The LIZARD MAN, I captured the fragile bougainvillea blossom (that blooms on the nastiest thorniest branches ever). All TOGETHER … a very fine day.
Yesterday, I spent three peaceful, solitary hours watching people and shooting pictures as the late afternoon melted into night. This small city park borders a narrow river traversed by four bridges: an old train trestle, a beautiful old bridge, an ultra-modern foot bridge, and the powerful light-rail bridge.
Lights dance across the sleek light-rail bridge and paint the water in a riot of changing colors.
The train streaks across the lighted bridge.
The bold lines of the new light-rail bridge contrast with the quiet of dignity of the old bridge built in 1931.
I found these boys hanging out under the bridge and asked them to just continue doing what they had been doing; they were happy to indulge me. While the un-posed shot has some flaws, I thought I’d post it just to let you share in the boys’ fun as they await the rumble of the next train. (I’d like to recreate the scene so that my lines on each side of the shot mirror each other.)
When I was in grade school, possibly 8th grade, my daddy gave me a black angus calf for a pet. It was an ingenious move on his part, because by gifting me with this wobbly legged creature, he had a willing assistant with the 5 AM milking and feeding. The thing that I, as a farm kid, understood is that he wouldn’t be my pet for long, because the cute calf matured into a steer that fed our growing family for almost a year.
During my visit with my brother last summer, we toured the farm, surveying the damage by the recent tornado. While we walked around the pasture, his steer, Norman, followed us, nudging and nuzzling in order to get a pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears (just like my dog does). I asked my brother if he would be upset when it came time for Norman to “leave” and his response reflected my understanding as a farm kid decades ago: This steer would provide enough income to sustain him for several months. The realities of farm pets.
I am a child of the 50s. I clearly remember when the TV (a tiny screen housed in a huge cabinet) first came into our house in 1955. Ten years later, I was delighted to own a battery-powered transistor radio that crackled out the Beach Boys and the Beatles from hundreds of miles away. I wrote my college papers on a portable Smith Corona typewriter and thought the heavens had opened when I got an electric self-correcting typewriter sometime in the mid-70s, about the same time I picked up a 35 mm camera for the first time. Jump forward at least three decades and I’m playing with what feels like magic with my Nikon D90 and my little MacBook while watching a DVR’d movie on my flat-screen TV. Tonight, I thought I’d see what I could do with the magic of Lightroom and Photoshop.
Black & White Mist on the Pond
I used layer to create the image below. I used a shot of the full moon (taken from the street outside my city condo) and a boring image of a a high-desert hill. However, I don’t know how to use layers. I wanted the moon higher in the sky & more to the right. I also wanted to manipulate the hues of the moon to reflect what a rising moon typically looks like — a little more warm. When I figure out how to use layers, I will re-post this image.
I’m shooting a wedding in a few weeks (a simple backyard affair). It’s a freebie as a gift for a former student. As the date approaches, I’m becoming quite nervous. I mean, this is her special day. What if I mess it up? What if I forget to change the ISO or the shutter speed or the f/stop? What if everything is out of focus? What if? What if?
Any advice? (Other than don’t be nervous)
Have any of you shot weddings, especially for someone you know? What are the pitfalls? What should I do to prepare? How do I make myself unobtrusive yet get the best shots? (That’s been something that’s held me back when I’ve shot events in the past. I tried to blend in with the background and I found that the perspective or the shot was not as good as it could be.)
What lenses would you recommend? My best are the 50 mm 1.4 & 85 mm 3.5 primes. I also have the kit 18-105. My camera is a Nikon D90.
Because I was involved in a ridiculous amount of work in the last week, I have not had a chance to take a picture or even write a word except for lesson plans and comments on my students’ work. I am itching to “get out there” and see what my Nikon can find.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these shots of homes that I took last summer in Shanghai. I was surprised that everywhere I traveled in China, I saw laundry hanging from balconies, doorways, and window ledges. Here in the US, we keep our laundry behind closed doors or hanging on lines in the back yard, away from the eyes of strangers. Different cultures.
Click on any image for a closer look.
Some small businesses away from the major business district
On a street away from the major business district
An apartment above a shop
Apartment building near a huge camera store
A few minutes before, I had seen these boys playing in a small fish pond inside of a peaceful meditation garden. Can you see the laundry hanging from the balconies?
Looking through the window of my hotel room in Shanghai
A tighter view of the rooftops from my hotel room reveals the ubiquitous laundry.
A side street off the Nanjing Lu
I liked this blue shirt that seems to be waiting for its person.
No laundry hanging from this apartment building protected by a heavy iron fence
Near the major business areas
I frequently walked this street in the French Concession.
Beyond the gate are homes.
There are many courtyards such as this on the streets I walked every day.
When I bought my Nikon D90 a little more than a year ago, I did not realize that I would fall in love with it, with the feel of the camera in my hand, with the images that it might gift to me. I also did not realize the frustrations I would battle as I could not produce the images I want. I long to be a good photographer.